True Crime Tales: The Devil in the White City

Show Notes for Episode 2.8

Check out the episode below:

His weakness was his belief that evil had boundaries

Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City

Quick links from the episode:

  • Folio Facts: This week Paige presents the world’s oldest novel, The Tale of Genji. Written in the earliest years of the eleventh century, this story is a classic of Japanese literature and it also happens to be written by a woman! To learn more, check out the Wikipedia article on the author, Murasaki Shikibu.
  • The Devil in the White City was published in 2002.
  • BBE Bookstore: Paige’s Bookstore pick for this week is Njal’s Saga, an Icelandic saga in which blood feuds and other shenanigans abound. The saga is believed to be describing events in the tenth and eleventh centuries.
  • Creatives’ Corner: This week Jennifer presents Bookish Realm, a bookish YouTube channel. Ashley is a librarian, which is awesome, and even has a series videos on being a librarian!
  • Can’t get enough true crime? Want to know more about H.H. Holmes? You’re in luck! Below are some documentaries available on streaming services right now:

The slideshow below was created using images from the Digital Public Library of America.

Coming up next time is the truly terrifying House of Leaves. Tune in October 26th if you dare. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Unpopular Opinion: Why The Silmarillion is the Best of Tolkien

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 1.5

Check out the free version of the episode below:

To get access to full-length bonus episodes, head over to our Patreon.

Quick links from the episode:

  • First thoughts:
    • This book is very much like the book of Genesis, and this was a conscious effort on the part of Tolkien.
    • Why are so many grown-ass elves, angels, men just absolute spoiled brats in this book?? Was Tolkien making some kind of commentary? Good thing there are some absolute gems like Beren and EΓ€rendil.
    • Overall, this book is our favorite Tolkien offering. Both Paige and Jennifer really appreciate seeing the elves as badasses, rather than the apathetic emo kids they are in the Lord of the Rings. It’s because they’re tired okay?!
    • Plus, how sweet is it that Tolkien used his own love story as inspiration for the story of Beren and Luthien?
  • Family Trees:
    • Hung up on the insanely complicated family trees in The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings? You’re not alone! Thankfully most, if not all, editions will include genealogical charts. However, if you are away from your books, the LOTR Project *may* be able to help you.
      • We say may because this huge tree is not super browser friendly and takes some work to scroll through. However, it is extremely detailed and the LOTR Project has embarked on several other projects that you might find interesting.

Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that came down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content or our Bookshop store to purchase your own copy of The Silmarillion. Until next time, cheers!

You Had Me at Archives: The Power of the Written Word in The Bloodprint

Show Notes for Episode 2.7

Check out the episode below:

Quick links from the episode:

  • Folio Facts: Jennifer delves into the shady world of rare book heists this week, discussing the Carnegie Library heist. To learn more about this incredible story, listen to our episode above, or check out this wonderful article in Smithsonian Magazine.
  • BBE Bookstore: Jennifer’s extra read for this month was Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge, which is all about – you guess it – the Dutch concept of hygge. While it doesn’t have a direct translation into English, we’ll go with the word ‘cozy’, and essentially Wiking credits the Danish obsession with it as the main reason for their happiness.
  • Creatives’ Corner: Paige presents a YouTube channel this week, Biographics. This channel creates video biographies about the great and terrible figures from history. Paige likes to put a video on while eating dinner, and considering they make four a week, there is plenty of material for you to consume!
  • Below is a quote from Khan’s latest interview, read it in full on The Portalist to learn more about how Khan sees writing as an outlet for exploring human rights. Unsurprising given her background in human rights law.
  • Also, Khan’s last installment of the Khorasan Archives series is coming out like…now! Actually it comes out October 6th, but you can check it out in our affiliate shop.

The Khorasan Archives were to some extent, a commentary on ideology as a tool of oppression.

Ausma Zehanat Khan
This beautiful piece serves as the cover art for the American edition of The Bloodprint. The cover included earlier in the post is from the UK edition.

Coming up next time is our first spooky season pick: Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. Tune in October 12th for magic, murder, and mayhem. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

The Women Behind the Curtain: Uncovering NASA’s Hidden Figures

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 2.3

Check out the free version of the episode below:

If you are interested in hearing the full version of this episode, head on over to our Patreon and sign up for the Book Ninja or Book Mage tiers!

Main Points from the Episode:

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly (2016)
  • Learn more about our author of the week, Margot Lee Shetterly by visiting her website.
  • Paige Presents Fun with Comics: an exciting deep-cut pick that isn’t for everyone, Paige introduced Injection this month. A mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, this comic focuses on a government project gone wrong: mixing magic and technology together to produce one killer machine.
  • The Wikipedia article on the film has a section that addresses historical accuracy as well as some of the comments screenwriter Theodore Melfi made that Jennifer referenced in the episode. However, take this section with a grain of salt as some of the sources are blogs which may or may not have accurate information.
  • Surprisingly, we would actually prefer the movie over the book on this one. However, we still recommend giving the book a read because it has so much good contextual & historical information.

Coming up next time is our September bonus Movie Magic episode! This month we will be comparing the book and film adaptation of Hidden Figures. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

That Witch King Juju: Tolkien’s The Return of the King

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 1.4

Check out a sample of the full-length episode below!

To get access to full-length bonus episodes, head over to our Patreon.

Quick Links from the Episode:

  • What did Jennifer read in the past month? Check out the links below for our Bookshop affiliate store:
  • For fans of Gilmore Girls, you may already be familiar with PBS’s iconic documentary series, Joseph Campbell & The Power of Myth. Campbell later published a book by the same name. If you want to watch the series, unfortunately you’ll have to pay for the privilege. It is available on Amazon for purchase.
  • It was Campbell that inspired Christopher Vogler to write The Writer’s Journey, combined with his years of experience reading stories at Disney. In this episode, Jennifer and Paige discuss several of the character archetypes that Vogler discusses in his book and how they can be applied in Lord of the Rings.
  • Keep scrolling to see some choice clips from the movie!

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
The charge of the Rohirrim during the battle for Minas Tirith (Battle of the Pelennor Fields) is as heartwarming as killing a bunch of orcs could possibly be.
Moments later, Eowyn shows what a badass she is by beating the sh*t out of the Witch King of Angmar.
Finally, the final battle against Sauron, with Aragorn’s iconic “For Frodo.”

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Holy Feast and Holy Fast: How Metal Were Female Saints?

The answer is very.

Show Notes for Episode 2.6

Check out the episode below:

CW: eating disorders, disordered eating, irregular food behaviors

Quick Links from the Episode:

If readers leave this book simply condemning the past as peculiar, I shall have failed. But I shall have failed just as profoundly if readers draw direct answers to modern problems from the lives I chronicle…

Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast

Coming up next time is our September bonus Movie Magic episode! This month we will be comparing the book and film adaptation of Hidden Figures. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Cracking the Mayan Code: Debunking Doomsday in The Book of Destiny

Show Notes for Episode 1.19

Check out the episode below!

Quick Links from the Episode

  • To learn more about Barrios, here is a brief bio on Mayan Cross.
  • According to Barrios (and others), 2012 was never seen as some kind of apocalypse to the Maya, rather the beginning of a new cycle for humanity. For more explanation of Mayan spirituality, particularly as it relates to 2012, check out this interview of Barrios by Valerie Barrow. The Book of Destiny goes into far more detail than we include in the episode as well.
  • Scroll down to check out some of the included astrological charts included in Barrios’s The Book of Destiny:

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

The Great Schism: Jennifer and Paige Clash Over Jane Eyre

Show Notes for Episode 1.18

Check out the episode below!

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.

Charlotte BrontΓ«, Jane Eyre

Quick Links from the Episode

  • For more information on the Bronte family, check out this truly extensive Wikipedia article.
  • The Bronte sisters were heavily influenced by Romanticism, among other things, a cultural and intellectual movement that peaked from 1800 to 1890.

Here is the trailer for the latest Jane Eyre adaptation starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska:

Don’t let this trailer fool you, this is not a horror movie.

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Ghost of Sexual Harassers Past: Balancing Quality and Morality in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation

Show Notes for Episode 1.17

Check out the episode below!

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

Isaac Asimov, Foundation

Quick Links from the Episode

Foundation, Isaac Asimov (1951)
  • The big three of science fiction (i.e. the folks considered to be the founding members of the modern genre): Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Jennifer began her Asimov reading journey years ago, when she read Fantastic Voyage.
  • You can check out the Wikipedia article to learn more about Asimov, or this fan-run site.
  • If you do your due diligence on Asimov, however, you uncover a very disturbing past. Asimov amassed quite a notorious reputation among fans and in the field for his borderline predatory behavior.

Check out the trailer for Apple TV’s new show based on Isaac Asimov’s hit series:

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Proto-Feminism in Science Fiction: The Left Hand of Darkness

Show Notes for Episode 2.5

Quick Links from the Episode

This amazing cover comes from the Ace paperbacks boxed set included the first four books from Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle series. The Left Hand of Darkness is #4.
  • Folio Facts: What is the oldest bookstore in the world? The answer is Livraria Bertrand, or Bertrand bookstore, in Lisbon, Portugal. First founded in 1732 by Pedro Faure, Bertrand has survived nearly three centuries of continuous operation. To learn more about this store, as well as other super old bookstores, check out this article. You can also read the Wikipedia article.
  • BBE Bookstore: Jennifer recently finished up reading Layla F. Saad’s Me & White Supremacy. A truly thought-provoking journaling guide, Jennifer has been finding a lot of value working through Saad’s 28-day program. Further investigation on the author revealed some interesting critiques of her expertise from within the activist community, though Jennifer still recommends checking this one out.
    • *Note: you won’t find this book in our Bookshop store as it felt wrong to profit off of sales of this book. However, you can find this book on Saad’s personal site, linked above.
  • Creatives’ Corner: Paige talks (Un)Well* on Netflix, a new series about the various strange faces of the giant that is the wellness industry. Everything from drinking breast milk, bee stings for Lyme disease, and essential oils are explored in each episode. A fascinating and science-backed approach to a lot of trends that have become hugely popular.
    • *Paige refers to the show on Netflix as “Wellness”. Oops!

Check out the Episode Below!

To learn what questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.

Ursula K Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Coming up next time, we’re diving into academia with Caroline Walker Bynum’s Holy Feast and Holy Fast. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy any of the books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!